Vinnie’s mom closes her laptop. She does not want the temptation to check her emails. While she’s folding the laptop, Vinnie sticks his finger into the hummus and pulls out a large gob. He drops his right hand down by his side. The ever alert Dexter understands what Vinnie is doing. This scene often plays out each time Vinnie doesn’t like his food. Dexter, Vinnie’s accomplice, is all over Vinnie’s finger like flies over food at a family picnic. Within seconds Vinnie’s finger is cleaner than at any time during the day.
Vinnie’s mom turns her attention back to Vinnie. She notices the gob of missing hummus. “I am so happy you tried the hummus, Vinnie. It’s so good for you.”
Vinnie smiles at his mom. He says, “You’re a good cook, Mom. You always make healthy things to eat.”
“Thank you, Vinnie. Now tell about the rest of the day.”
“If I told you everything, you might be bored. I’ll tell you about the important parts. During the announcements, Doctor Cashman said school elections for next year are going to be tomorrow. Duh. Everybody knows that. When she was finished, I raised my hand. Mrs. Mavis, didn’t call on me. I thought she didn’t see me. So, I said, ‘Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis. Mrs. Mavis.'”
“How many times did you really say her name, Vinnie?”
“About a hundred before she finally called on me.”
“What did she say?”
“She said, “Vincent, go to time out. I know what you are going to ask. I am not telling you when we are having speeches, you’ll have to wait.”
“Did you ask, why?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“Yah, Mom. How did you know? You didn’t read her email, did you?” asks an alarmed Vinnie. Vinnie adds, “I asked politely. I said, ‘Why, Mrs. Mavis? Why do I have to go to time out? Why won’t you tell us when we are going to give our speeches?”
“What did she say?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“She said, “Vincent, go to the office.”
“Well, what happened next?” asks Vinnie’s mom.
“On the way to the office, I stopped and helped Pete the custodian empty the trashcan in the boy’s room. Then Pete and I walked to the office. He was giving me some advice.”
“What advice was Pete giving you?”
“Pete told me school is only a couple of weeks to go and I can do it standing on my head.”
“That’s good advice, Vinnie. What happened in the office?”
“When I went in the office I saw Mrs. Nokowski, she said, ‘Hi Vinnie. Want a tootsie pop?’ I said yes, and I said, ‘Do I have to see Doctor Cashman?’ Mrs. Nokowski said, ‘You’re lucky, Vinnie. Doctor Cashman is at the superintendent’s office.’ I said, “Is Doctor Cashman in trouble. I bet she’s going to get fired.” Mrs. Nokowski laughed and said, “I don’t think so.’ She reached in her desk and pulled out a pass for me to go back to class. She already has a stack ready for me. It saves her time.”
“Vincent, how often are you sent to the office? Why hasn’t anyone told me about this?” says Vinnie’s mom.
“Nothing to worry about, Mom. Mrs. Nokowski says she thinks I should be paid because I spend so much time in the office. Honest, I really don’t do anything bad. I don’t hit anybody. I don’t throw things at anybody except on the bus when Joey and Larry and me sometimes have paper fights.”
Vinnie’s mom is trying to think of something to say. Before she can string three words together Vinnie says, “I went back to class and Mrs. Mavis was beginning the speeches. She looked at me and I smiled and gave her the pass from Mrs. Nokowski. She said, ‘Very well, Vincent. Sit down and be quiet. You’ll have your turn after Tommy and Megan. I went to my seat and Megan started hollering.”
“Why was Megan hollering?”
“She said I was mouthing the words, ‘Vote for me.'”
“Yes. I sat down and Mrs. Mavis gave me one of her crow looks.”
“That’s not nice, Vincent. Be respectful.”
“I am, Mom. But when she looks over the edge of her glasses and pushes her head forward to stare at you she reminds me of an old crow. Rupert agrees with me.”
“Go on,” says Vinnie’s mom thinking the email must be really bad.
“Tommy said, “Elect me President of the 4th grade because I’m really, really smart and I will do smart things.” It was pathetic, Mom. Then Megan got up and said, “Elect me because I pay attention and never get in trouble like some other people in class. We don’t need a President who is always in the office.” I had to put my hand over my mouth to stop from getting in trouble.”
“Very good, Vinnie. What happened next.”
“You sure you want to hear it?”